December is the time when we see countless reviews of the year just gone and just as many predictions for the year ahead. With this in mind we decided to take a look back at our blog archive and reflect on some of the things we’ve been talking about to create a definite ‘to-do’ list when it comes to getting the most out of your B2B ad campaigns in 2016. A bold claim admittedly, but take a read – it could be the most helpful post you’ve read all year!

1. Get emotional

There has been talk among senior figures within the marketing community in 2015 of B2B becoming P2P (person to person). It seems that as we become ever more reliant on technology there is also a clear and equal need to become more human in a simple, back-to-basics way. Few will dispute the opportunities presented through technology – greater audience insight, more targeted activity, greater measurability, to name a few, but the real secret to success is to take advantage of this opportunity while engaging prospects in a personal way, tapping into their emotions and ensuring your brand resonates with them more effectively.
Our post earlier this year recommended a number of ways to get more emotional in an increasingly digital world, including being more authentic, showing credibility, segmenting data and even turning off the computer and talking with your customers face-to-face!
2. Don't ignore Google’s mobile-focused algorithm change 
Google’s algorithm changed (again!) this year, and it’s a change which should not be ignored. There have been plenty of other updates, but unlike Penguin or Panda, this time the algorithm change focused on improving the mobile web experience rather than penalizing bad practice.
This update impacts Google's mobile searches and it will give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in the mobile search results only, but with mobile usage now accounting for 60% of time spent consuming digital media this was a very big deal. In our review of this change we recommend ways to ensure you stay on top, from having a mobile optimised site to 'thinking mobile' at all times when writing copy and producing campaign content.
3. Reach your audience in the context of their world…
The opportunities arising through the use of data and technology is changing the way media is being bought and sold in a significant way. But how is it doing this and what does it mean for advertisers? This is where the Sift Media Private Marketplace (PMP) comes in…
We’ve always had great insight into our own audience and now, by leaning on the latest technology regarding online behavioural targeting, it’s possible to provide a programmatic buying solution which engages B2B brands with professionals at the right time and right place. While this of course includes Sift Media’s own titles, it also provides the opportunity to engage business communities across multiple networks.
Reaching a targeted audience in the context of the specific ‘world’ they are in at that time, not only presents a better experience to the audience, it also increases the potential for a greater return on campaign objectives for the advertiser. Content may be king, but engaging prospects in the most appropriate context can be key to the success or failure of a campaign.
4. Never take your audience for granted
Ensuring you understand your audience should be the first step of any campaign. It’s fair to say you will have some idea about who your audience is, what their needs are and how your proposition can help them, but it’s easy for this confidence to cause too many assumptions and that’s where it gets dangerous. If we don’t have full insight into who our audience is then we can’t be sure our product or service is going to succeed, let alone our advertising campaigns.
In our blog post we discuss the ways to use data to gain great audience insight, but also remind ourselves of the importance of treating the reader as an individual and not a number. Think about the messaging, the tone, the voice, but also allow the insight you have to inform the most appropriate channel of communication for that individual.
5. Don’t just ‘do’ content marketing, document it!
Content marketing is nothing new, but it has certainly evolved. Whereas a decade or so ago businesses might attempt to reach prospects by promoting a bland corporate brochure, today it’s more likely to be a series of interactive webinars on a relevant industry topic or event. The change in technology in this time has created a wealth of opportunities for quality engagement, but this has also been aligned to a more subtle, yet more effective approach from marketers – that of moving away from pushing a corporate message to having a conversation.
So if the majority of today’s campaigns are based around content marketing, what can we learn from more recent history that will enhance the results of future campaigns? In this post we look at why to document your strategy, the effectiveness of different content marketing tactics, and the importance of monitoring, measuring and analysing.